Tom Mulcair: Why the NDP can't support Bill C-51

Tom Mulcair: Why the NDP can't support Bill C-51

Postby Oscar » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:07 pm

Tom Mulcair: Why the NDP can't support Bill C-51

From: Tom Mulcair
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2015 9:49 AM
Subject: Tom Mulcair: Why the NDP can't support Bill C-51

Bill C-51 continues to be a focus of attention in Ottawa and across the country. While the Conservatives are making every attempt to limit debate and rush this legislation, the NDP is pushing back to ensure Canadians are kept safe while their collective rights remain protected.

As Leader of the Official Opposition, I felt a profound sense of responsibility to give this bill the scrutiny and study it deserved. I also felt a deep obligation to stand up for and protect Canadians' way of life—our freedoms and our values. Unlike the Liberal Leader who rubber stamped the bill sight unseen, I talked with my NDP team, civil society partners and community leaders---I even tried, to no avail, to get clarification from Stephen Harper and the Conservative ministers responsible for the file. After all this deliberation, I, along with the NDP caucus, came to the conclusion that we could not support the bill.

I think we can all agree that terrorism is a very real threat—both here at home and abroad. But we need to be very careful with how we move forward and consider the reckless changes the Conservatives are making to the Canada we know and love—they're legislating increased state security powers, more surveillance and potential breaches of our Charter of Rights. New Democrats firmly believe that we don't have to give up any of our hard won freedoms, our rights and our privacy to be secure. Stephen Harper keeps giving us a false choice—one that tells us that we need to give up our rights to be safe. New Democrats know that free societies are safe societies, and we'll keep fighting for your rights and freedoms.

Here's why we can't support C-51:

- This bill is vague, far-reaching and ineffective.
- Giving CSIS significant new powers without oversight could lead to abuse.
- There is no plan to counter radicalization.
- Because of Conservative budget cuts, CSIS and the RCMP don't have enough resources to fully enforce the existing laws, let alone the new provisions.
- We share some of the Privacy Commissioner's serious concerns: https://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2015/ ... 0306_e.asp
- We believe the existing laws are sufficient.

Here's what we think the Anti-Terrorism Bill should do:

- Provide strong oversight of security and intelligence agencies.
- Ensure appropriate resources are available for security and intelligence agencies to track and identify threats to our safety.
- Include efforts to combat radicalization, working with at-risk communities to help counter radicalization.

What's more, Stephen Harper showed his contempt for the democratic and Parliamentary process by unveiling this bill at a campaign style event. He didn't give this bill the sober, parliamentary treatment it deserves. And, he's limited debate in Parliament and limited testimony from stakeholders and witnesses at Committee.

We think it's critical to hear from experts and community leaders to get their input and suggestions. Instead, the Conservatives have chosen to bulldoze ahead with the legislation with little regard for dissenting voices or constructive feedback. The blocking of a NDP motion to include Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien as a Committee witness is their latest attempt to exclude added scrutiny of C-51.

I'll continue to raise our objections and questions on the anti-terrorism legislation relentlessly in the House of Commons, in the media and everywhere I can.

You can count on New Democrats to continue to take a strong, principled stand for our freedoms, our values and our way of life.

To learn more about our position and what others are saying, I've included additional links below. I encourage you to share my email with your friends and family.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me about this very important issue. I hope you'll add your voice to our petition telling Stephen Harper you oppose this bill: http://www.ndp.ca/c-51

Best regards,

Tom Mulcair



More discussion on this issue:

[ http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/03 ... inst-c-51/ ]
[ http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/02/18 ... -freedoms/ ]

I spent my Sunday afternoon with the CBC's Rex Murphy talking about the anti-terror bill and listening to Canadians' views:
[ http://www.cbc.ca/radio/checkup/is-the- ... -1.2964958 ]

My discussion with CBC's Michael Enright about C-51 [ http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/ID/2653442344/ ]

Former NDP Federal Leader Ed Broadbent and Former NDP Premier of Saskatchewan, Roy Romanow called for the bill to be defeated: [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-de ... e22932072/ ]

Four former Prime Ministers agree that this dangerous legislation needs to be changed:
[ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e23110776/ ]

NY Times article by Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, Canadian law professors specializing in anti-terrorism law:
[ http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/opini ... =eta1&_r=0 ]
Oscar
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